It’s getting a little hard to keep the days straight… good thing the photos are dated!
Here are today’s photos: https://goo.gl/photos/EikqN72UJx839kDL6
I started out by walking up to Place d’Italie, which had caught Mary’s attention for some reason. Because she likes Italian food I think. It’s the end of the metro line we take to Gare d’Austerlitz, our stop to get home to Hotel Saint Marcel. Anyway… Place d’Italie is a huge roundabout, with a park in the center of it. Lots of shops and cafes surrounding the roundabout, as well as this huge shopping center Italie Duex, with 130 shops. There’s an elevator that would give you a great view of the area, but the guard said I couldn’t go up to take pictures, darn it all.
So I hopped on the Metro and went up to the Louvre where I started off on foot. Walked through the Louvre carousel, which is another shopping area complete with Apple store and a post office. I’d stopped at the post office I found at Place d’Italie, but it was automated and I could not figure out what stamps I needed for postcards. It turns out envelopes and post cards are weighed and under 20 grams or centigrams or something, everything gets the same postage. The Louvre post office had a person I could speak with, so he sold me a bunch of stamps I can use on postcards or envelopes & cards.
I did a teeny bit of Christmas shopping; there was a really nice museum art store where I picked up a small item for some lucky person. June Lee had some interesting pieces in the store, which I adored but wasn’t quite sure what I would do with, if I got one, so I just took a picture.
I wandered out of the Louvre, which I had no interest in visiting. Too many people, too many paintings, too touristy; I just don’t enjoy that kind of thing. So I strolled through the Tuilleries, a huge formal garden, and really enjoyed that. Except for the lady fundraising for a deaf institute; she basically hijacked 23 euros from me before I realised what was going on. Well, the money went to a good cause, but I didn’t appreciate her tactics. But the dogs distracted me a few minutes later-this group of loose dogs, totally well behaved… I couldn’t believe they weren’t running amok. Wish I had that kind of training skill! Three dog walkers with their charges. Unfortunately the handler I spoke to didn’t have a great command of English nor was he interested in talking to me, so I didn’t find out anything beyond that they were dogwalkers.
No real plan for today, so I just meandered around the area people watching and going through shops until I was to meet Mary at l’Orangerie, a small museum with some of Monet’s murals. I walked through Printemps, a huge, very pricey/upscale department store and borrringggg… Until I went outside and passed their windows. Oh, so cute!! They had four windows with animated dolls in various costumes twirling around in the windows. Just darling, but I didn’t get very good photos because of the reflection on the glass. I had hoped to visit Maxim’s collection of Art Nouveau, but drat! it was closed for the holidays.
I was meeting Mary at three at l’Orangerie, a small museum in one corner of the Tuilleries. Fantastic Monet murals; it was absolutely worth going just to see those. The movie about the murals was informative and I had a much greater appreciation for the murals after seeing the movie. The rest of the artwork I wasn’t so excited about, but I am so glad I did see Monet’s murals, the Water Lilies. They were a gift to the city after WWI; Monet felt very guilty to be working on his art, while others were giving their lives to their country. He also wanted to give ordinary people a place to be calm after being in the craziness of the city. That’s why he picked l’Orangerie; right outside the building is this really busy street, but you come into l’Orangerie and go into the room with the murals and it is just instantly calming (inspite of all the goofy tourists taking photos-and yes, Mary & I were right there with them!).
We took the bus home together, and found that we had goofed up and no restaurants were open nearby by the time we got to the hotel. So we had the cheese plate, the meat plate-hors d’ouvres at the hotel-and she had tea while I had Calvados. Now that was intense! I went for a walk and got lost, and was pretty glad I could use the iPhone map to get back! I tend to not pay attention to where I’m going, so getting back can be difficult sometimes. I rely on my iPhone too much, and I’ve had it only a year and a half. Well, if I didn’t have it, I guess I’d pay more attention!